Tutor profile: James C.
What elements should be included in the best introductory paragraphs of an essay of any length?
An introductory paragraph should include at least a clear thesis statement, and a sketch of the development of the rest of the essay. The thesis statement should be one clear claim the author proposes to demonstrate, and which may be rephrased as the conclusion. The sketch should tell the reader how the author will set about proving this claim: what evidence will be considered, what theoretical or interpretative approaches invoked, what conceptual moves will be made. Depending on the nature of the assignment, an introduction may include a hook or a contextualization of the problem or question, but these are not appropriate for every essay.
Subject: Folklore and Mythology
What is Joseph Campbell's contribution to the study of mythology?
Joseph Campbell, proposed what he calls the "Hero's Journey" described in his book Hero with A Thousand Faces. This cycle is supposed to describe a standard heroic pattern with a number of variations which is a reflection of essential elements of human psychology. While the cycle has many variations and can be quite complicated, a simple cycle might contain elements such as a Call - the hero is summoned out of normal existence, a Journey - in which the hero encounters various helpers and obstacles, a Boon - some benefit the hero accomplishes for a wider society, and a Return - a return to a normal state of existence.
Subject: European History
Who was Tiberius Gracchus and what is his significance for the history of the Roman Republic?
Ti. Gracchus was tribune of the plebs, lynched in 131 BCE. Widely considered a populist, his major contribution to Roman politics was the attempt to repair a perceived dearth of men suitable to serve in the Roman army and reduce the crowds of urban poor by massive land redistributions. This policy was unacceptable to a faction of conservative senators, who killed him and some of his partisans in a fit of mob violence. Gracchus remained a controversial figure in Roman memory and for many modern scholars of Roman history. The period of his tribunate is often considered the beginning of the period called the "Late Republic."
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